United States 'concern' over French plan to tax tech giants

Lloyd Doyle
July 11, 2019

Late Wednesday, the Trump administration announced an investigation into the tax under the provision used previous year to probe China's technology policies, which led to tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports.

The move gives Lighthizer up to a year to investigate if France's digital-tax plan would hurt USA technology companies.

Apple reportedly reached a deal previous year with French authorities to back-pay 500 million euros ($571 million) in taxes.

France says the tax is needed because big internet companies such as Facebook and Amazon are able to book profits in low-tax countries no matter where the revenue originates from.

"The president has directed that we investigate the effects of this legislation and determine whether it is discriminatory or unreasonable and burdens or restricts United States commerce", he said.

Le Maire said the tax would target some 30 companies, mostly American but also Chinese, German, Spanish and British, as well as one French firm and several firms with French origins that have been bought by foreign companies.

This combination of pictures created on July 10, 2019 shows a Facebook logo on July 4, 2019 in Nantes, an Apple logo in San Francisco on September 7, 2016, a Google logo in China's Chongqing on August 23, 2018, and an Amazon logo in NY on September 28, 2011.

It will target companies such as Google and Facebook with a 3% levy on revenue made inside France.

Bob Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, issued a statement welcoming Lighthizer's investigation.

Republican Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Ron Wyden, the senior Democratic Party member on the panel, for their part, hailed the investigation.

"By attempting to unilaterally overtax American players, Bruno Le Maire has triggered a trade war that penalizes French technology today and will penalize tomorrow many sectors that make the French economy successful, including wine, automobiles and luxury", ASIC president Giuseppe de Martino said.

"The United States would not need to pursue this path if other countries would abandon these unilateral actions and focus their energies on the multilateral process that is underway", the statement added.

"We applaud the Trump Administration for taking decisive action against France and for signaling to all of America's trading partners that the USA government will not acquiesce to tax and trade policies that discriminate against American businesses,"Amazon said".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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